Posted January 23, 2014

Arena das Dunas, site of U.S.’s first World Cup contest, opens in Natal

2014 World Cup

And then there were five.

Of the dozen World Cup 2012 stadiums planned for Brazil, only six were done by the Dec. 31, 2013, deadline, but Arena das Dunas in Natal, home of the U.S.’s opening contest against Ghana officially opened on Wednesday. The above video shows off differing views of the venue.

The first of the late group of six to finish, the 42,000-seat stadium will first host Mexico vs. Cameroon before welcoming Ghana and the U.S. on June 16.

The U.S. will later play in Arena Amazonia in the north of Brazil, a stadium still not complete, and the brand-new 46,000-seat Arena Pernambuco in Recife, opened in May 2013.

Arena das Dunas features a curved roof, giving some architectural flair to the 32,000 permanent and 10,000 temporary blue seats that will fill for four games during the summer tournament.

MORE: Delays and Missed Deadlines at the World Cup

The stadium was constructed on the site of the former Estadio Machadao, which opened in 1972, and takes its name from the sand dunes and beach of Rio Grande do Norte. The first game inside Arena das Dunas is this this Sunday when club teams America and Confianca play, followed by ABC vs. Alecrim.

The next World Cup stadium expected to open is Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre.

Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and technology for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.


hi guys. just saw that the ptice of accommodation in natal has sky highed. one option is to stay in the surroundings. sao miguel do gostoso is 90 min by car to the match venue, areia das dunas. if you havent got yourself where to stay yet, have look on, friendly, english spoken and overall good price.+55 84 32634216 contact person fabio or michelle


Arena da Amazônia here in Manaus will be ready in eight days. The stadium itself is all but done, and they're paving the external areas.